You can tell the off-season is beginning to get long when we start to rehash things that happened early in the winter. I think a lot of the reason is that we’re getting a little bit stir crazy. I’ve mentioned this and I’ve heard others say this as well that this is the most anticipated season in recent history, and I’ll get to that in the notes. Here’s the good news, though. This week’s version of Friday Notes and next week’s version of Friday Notes will be the last two before¬†some action is happening with the Royals as pitchers and catchers FINALLY report on February 11. So unless the Royals make a completely unexpected splash, we’re stuck waiting for just a little bit longer.
- I think there are multiple reasons why people are anticipating the 2013 season so much. For me, I think this is the best team on paper the Royals have had in quite some time, so it’s going to be great to see a team that is likely competitive most of the time. In previous seasons, it seemed like there would usually be at least one day out of every turn through the rotation that the game was just out of hand before most of the fans had finished their hot dogs. Of course that’ll still happen this season at times, but I think those times will be fewer and farther between. I talked on the podcast about how simply finishing a touch over .500 isn’t enough, so this might seem a little hypocritical when juxtaposed with that, but I’m pretty excited about the Royals actually being in games. While I hope for more than that, it’s still an improvement.
- All that said, another reason why I’m looking forward so greatly to the upcoming season is that I think one way or another, the Royals direction will become very clear. When Dayton Moore took over six and a half years ago, the organization had a couple top end talents, but was mostly bereft at that point. He’s done a nice job of building the farm system and has decided that the team was a James Shields (and probably Ervin Santana) away from contending. I don’t care what he got worked up about in that article. His job is absolutely on the line based on the moves he made. Maybe he didn’t make those moves because his job was on the line, but as soon as he made a “win now” trade, he damn sure better win now. I don’t think David Glass is quite as cold as I am about this, but I also don’t think he’s quite as absentee about it as many people believe.
- I know I throw a lot of praise on Salvador Perez, and I’m not alone, but Joel Goldberg told a great story on the podcast about him. I’d recommend you listen to it because Joel gave a great interview and Clint and I got a little heated toward the end and that’s always fun. But if you haven’t had a chance to, basically the story was that Tony LaRussa was at a Royals game and Joel, knowing Tony from his days with the Cardinals, told him to watch out for Salvador Perez because he reminded him of Yadier Molina. Molina, incidentally, is one of LaRussa’s all-time favorite players, and LaRussa is also one of baseball’s all-time sour pusses, so making that comment to him was a little bit risky. The story goes that LaRussa was on one end of the suite and Joel on the other. Perez made a play by blocking a ball in the dirt that was reminiscent of a Molina block and LaRussa, who never smiles, peeked up, looked at Joel and gave a smile. Yes, that’s just an anecdote and I think the offense will regress some, but Perez is a special defender and I can’t wait to get to see him play again.
- One player I had targeted in my mind as a potential fit for the Royals was Kelly Johnson, who the Rays signed this week. I’ve talked about this on Twitter a little this week, but he’s a perfect example of Dayton Moore never letting the market set itself to find out who could be had for a good deal. Instead, the Royals once again blew their wad early in the off-season and now have no money available for a potential upgrade somewhere. If this was the first time this had happened it wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal, but the Royals do this every single season. Last year, Dayton Moore even admitted it toward the end of the off-season. And then he did the exact same thing again. I don’t know if Kelly Johnson provides any sort of upgrade, but as we see bargains come off the board in the next week or two, many are likely to be players the Royals could have used to help them in 2013. They wouldn’t be perfect options, but a lot of them will likely be better.
- Like I said above, I’m ready to get past the speculation and constantly going over situations in my head over what could happen with the Royals heading into the season. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually looking forward to the stories about players being in the best shape of their lives. We’ve already gotten one similar one to that about Francoeur and I’m looking forward to more.
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